Rebecca Harris MP urges drivers to be ‘Bike Smart’ for Road Safety Week 2018

Castle Point MP, Rebecca Harris, showed her support for Road Safety Week (19-25 November), coordinated annually by the road safety charity Brake, with the theme of ’Bike Smart’. At an event in Parliament, Rebecca met with representatives from Brake to learn more about why cyclists and motorcyclists are amongst the most vulnerable road users and what people can do to be more bike aware and help keep those on two wheels safe.


Analysis by Brake has found that 18 bike riders (cyclists and motorcyclists) are killed or seriously injured every week on the East of England’s roads, a total of 944 in 2017. Those on two wheels made up a third (33%) of all deaths and serious injuries on the roads in the East of England in 2017. Brake’s analysis has also highlighted the high vulnerability of those on two wheels, who, in comparison with car drivers, are on average 34 times more likely to be killed and 63 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured, per mile travelled, on British roads.


Those on two wheels also face increased danger on our rural roads. Two-thirds (301) of bike deaths in 2017, an average of 25 a month, took place on rural roads – the highest number of bike deaths on Britain’s rural roads for more than five years. Concerningly, the fatal crash risk facing bike riders on rural roads – which accounts for miles travelled – is also at its highest since 2010.


Rebecca heard how Brake is calling for drivers to be ‘Bike Smart’ this Road Safety Week by following a few simple steps: slowing down, giving more time to spot danger and react; looking properly for bikes before pulling out at junctions; leaving at least 150cm between cars and a bike when overtaking; and by doing the ‘Dutch reach’, using the opposite hand to open a car door to help avoid ‘car dooring’ incidents.


Commenting, Rebecca said:


“We can all do much more to be Bike Smart on our roads. I was shocked to hear from Brake that cyclists are on average 34 times more likely to be killed on British roads than drivers. By following a few simple steps while driving we can keep cyclists safe.”


Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at Brake, said:


“I am delighted that Rebecca has shown their support for Road Safety Week, helping raise awareness about the safety of those on two wheels. Every week, 18 cyclists and motorcyclists are killed or seriously injured on the roads in the East of England – each a tragedy that will devastate innumerable lives. We can all be more Bike Smart in the hope that we can put an end to the tragedy of death and serious injury on our roads.


“Rural roads, with their high speeds, blind bends and few cycle lanes, pose particular danger to those on two wheels, with the risk of a fatal rural road bike crash now at its highest since 2010. The Government’s announced focus on rural road user safety is welcome and we encourage the consideration of rural road speed and bike-safe infrastructure, such as segregated cycle lanes, in its plans.


“Road Safety Week is a vital loudspeaker for individuals, communities and organisations to shout about road safety and raise awareness of the risks on our roads. With one bike rider being killed or seriously injured every hour in Britain, there is no better time for us all to be more ‘Bike Smart’.”